Big Tech giants team up to create open source map data

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A group of major technology companies, including Meta, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and TomTom, have announced the launch of the Overture Maps Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to create a free and open source map data set that can be used by anyone to build their own maps and mapping applications.

The foundation’s initial data set includes 59 million “points of interest,” such as restaurants, landmarks, streets, and regional borders. The data has been cleaned and formatted so that it can be easily used by developers.

Overture Maps Foundation is not the first open source map data project. However, it is the first to be backed by such a large group of major technology companies. This gives the foundation a significant advantage in terms of resources and reach.

According to Overture’s executive director, Marc Prioleau, Meta and Microsoft supplied data to Overture. He adds that collecting and licensing location data is difficult, and developing map data involves resources, so enterprises may now invest in constructing their own map data, but many prefer collaboration around Overture’s open base map to save money.

Overture’s mission is to provide a simple map data platform that businesses can utilize to construct and manage their own maps. App developers, for example, pay for Google Maps lookups via an API, but native Apple app developers get free access to Apple Maps, but web app developers must pay. Overture just provides the basic map data, letting enterprises to build their own software on top of it.

The sources for this piece include an article in CNBC.


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